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Soothe the Mind

An entrepreneur steps up in the face of chaos.

By Skyler SaundersPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 9 min read
Soothe the Mind
Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash

Yarn unspooled and rolled in a Wilmington, Delaware street. People walked around in the nude and paid no attention to the red thread that rolled and rolled. It was a frosty sixteen degrees Fahrenheit with the sun poking through the gray skies. Police officers remained in the buff as well. Everyone was doing it. To save the snails and the whales and birds and the worms, folks just walked with a devil-may-care attitude. On one street corner, a woman slashed her face after giving away a pair of shorts she had cherished, treasured, really, and started sobbing.

She took to her vlog and reported that she had relinquished the last pair of shorts she truly admired. She then held up her camera and microphone right on the street corner for anyone to take. No modes of transportation worked anymore. Cars littered the place like a child’s toy room. Airplanes remained forever grounded and boats and ships stayed at sea or docked.

Mayor Chantrelle Gawson walked around this winter night. She noticed the people getting frostbite in the winter blast. She suffered so much as the elements attacked the extremities. The iciness stung her feet and her exposed skin withstood the attacks only to a certain extent. Given the brutal chill of the air and the night about to fall, Chantrelle sobbed great tears that froze to her face.

She experienced no joy in her giving and hoped that no one could feel pleasure. Pain, only pain could bring about the true happiness that would come in the form of the people’s great-great grandchildren. Chantrelle kept crying. She was nutmeg colored and shook profusely in the winter wind. She met up with some people on the block selling socks.

“What are you doing selling? There’s no more commerce! You have to give. Give until it hurts and then give some more. That’s what we’re doing here, people.”

The humility, the utter compliance of the populace meant that there was no argument. Everyone agreed with one another. Chantrelle walked off of that block and headed towards another one. She spread her arms wide and stepped on broken glass. She shrieked. But she just kept rolling along, trying to catch people engaged in trade or other selfish practices. She stumbled upon a man trying to save his own child from the cold by wrapping it in a blanket.

“What are you going to do? Huh? Are you going to save your child and let your neighbor’s child die? What’s the justice in that?”

“But he was cold,” Rondo Jenkers replied.

“So is your brother’s child. He needs it more than your son?”

“But why?”

“Because God and society want us to. That’s why,” Chantrelle placed the cloth on the back of the other child who was in greater need than Jenker’s son.

“I see now. If we just give up our kin, if we sacrifice, then we’ll be able to reap the greater reward.”

Chantrelle put a finger to her head and said, “Think.” She then parted from this scene with the glass still in her foot. Every step produced pain that brought her nothing but physical pain and spiritual ecstasy.

As the fire pits blazed, no street lights worked any more. The dusty sheen over each lamp covering signaled a state of abandoned power lines as well. Chantrelle picked up her stride and the pieces of glass dug deeper into her flesh. All of the doctors gave out free medicine, free procedures, free mental-health care, free dental. She wasn’t worried about getting the pieces extracted from her foot. Instead, she lasered in on any acts of selfishness.

“Dr. or should I say Bannon Lowe since there are actually no titles around here, did you do a count of the various patients who needed more care than the others?”

“Yes, Chanterelle. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve brought about a certain air of knowing whom to select.” He pointed like a surveyor viewing the landscape. “Those camps over there are full of influenza, COVID-19, and other diseases; that camp is occupied by broken limbs; and the other camp is hospice care. Due to the wicked weather, we’re experiencing more deaths from exposure,” Dr. Lowe grinned a bit and his eyes twitched. He rubbed his hands and giggled a little bit.

“Glad to hear it. Just keep them alive as best you can, okay, Lowe?” Chantrelle commanded and asked in one fell swoop.

“I’m on it.”

Chantrelle didn’t ask for her foot to be looked at, she just tried to run as much as she could, although she relished the pain. When night fell, the temperature dropped to three degrees Fahrenheit. With everyone completely naked, except for the poorest and dire situations who donned green, thick, itchy military blankets, all seemed to go well in a world of selflessness. A rumbling then grew increasingly louder. It was the sound of a vehicle’s engine. A sports car, gleaming and in pristine condition roared with a ferocity that could only be matched by a growling tiger. A semi truck trailed the car.

“Mayor McCool. What a pleasure it is to see you. You know I-–”

“Save it, Chantrelle. You’re starving your own people. You’re keeping them alive just so they can experience misery,” McCool said. “If you want to suffer and ‘live’ that should be on you. Don’t force these people to be like your decrepit soul.”

McCool was black as a nightstick. He stood at six feet one inch tall. Chantrelle’s five feet eleven inch frame almost matched his. He looked down and saw the blood issuing from her feet.

“Damn, woman. You’ve really engineered sacrifice.”

“I have.” She said it with an air of unearned pride. Her voice quavered at the end.

“Well, if you don’t mind, I’m going to give out care packages on credit from my big ‘evil’ corporation. I’ve got permits so just in case you think you can bully me, I went to the governor and told her that you would want to stand in my way.”

“This is our way. We are leaders for a new day. These people have subjected themselves to near death just to achieve a blanket on the back of their neighbors. They regurgitate food into the mouths of others, they’re so enthusiastic about it.”

“That sounds disgusting and what you are doing is monstrous,” McCool expressed.

“You don’t understand. These people are surviving.”

“But they’re not thriving. They work all day to provide grist for their meager meals and then have to transfer that into the bellies of others? That’s as vicious as it gets.”

Chantrelle made a nearly inaudible guffaw. It was a laugh of dismissal and dismay.

“What you ought to see is that in this park, there are people who are enjoying this,” she said.

“Enjoying what? Slow death by a thousand tiny bamboo shoots underneath the fingernails?”

Chantrelle looked at McCool. “What I’m doing is revolutionizing the First State. I’m showing how care for the other is primary. That the individual is just the means to the end of promising the fellow man a job and the ability to spread the wealth around equally.”

“What you’re saying are the makings of any dictatorship or mass slaughter or suicide ever recorded in history. You get them to believe in factories and fields and how textiles and mills will feed them. Or you tell them to sup from the cup of destruction and watch all of the perish at a snail’s pace or almost immediately.”

Chantrelle sighed. The packages of food, clothes, and water rolled off the trucks. Shelters popped up around the park. A good thousand people started to rejoice as they signed their information to pay for their provisions. Relief covered the people. McCool pulled out his smartphone and went Live.

“As you can see, Freespace Industries is not for the people. We’re for the individual. We’re not handing out turkeys. We’re trading turkey dinners and comfortable clothing and living conditions for future payments. We’re setting up housing and Mayor Gawson has officially lost her mind as she has her citizens and herself stark naked in below freezing temperatures. It’s disturbing. But we’re not giving up this fight. We’re rolling––”

Suddenly, a bright light beam flashed in McCool’s eyes. He shielded it with his hand. Officer Noling stood naked with a flashlight only. All guns for police had been banned by the mayor.

“You’re after curfew, you can’t park this car and those trucks here, and we’re running out of medicine, you must give it to us or you go to jail.” McCool switched off his Live feed.

“Officer, what?”


“We’re providing more care than your mayor ever could. It is time to realize that the emphasis on the other has never been necessary.”

“Still, you must move back. Get these vehicles out of here.”

McCool remained calm and then reached into his pocket for his phone. Upon extracting it, he returned to his Live.

“Now, I have Officer Noling. He wants to know just how much time it's going to take for us to move our trucks out of here. We’re not leaving. If the mayor can’t even control her city and has let it slip into total disarray, then it is time to reverse this perversion and allow for new measures to be implemented that will lead to thriving and human flourishing.”

Soon, Officer Noling backed away from the camera and put up his arm to block the shot. Mayor Chantrelle saw this and tried to snatch the phone from McCool’s hand. He resisted and held positive control over his mobile device.

“You can’t have my phone, and you can’t beat the Feds,” military styled trucks and helicopters flew over like giant wasps.

“You do this now, but you won’t be doing this for long,” Chantrelle said icily.

“And you won’t do this at all.” Officer Noling was impotent in watching his boss being carted away by military police.

McCool returned to his Live. “So that’s what it takes, boys and girls. All you have to do is show a bit of force for good and some private means and you’re platinum.”

The military vehicles and the aircraft drove Chantrelle insane and she swallowed a cyanide pill from a sling she carried.

With the ruse of her being “like the people,” she just wanted to show the facade of being altruistic and act like it’s anything but the abominable system it is.

McCool captured the ambulance with Chantrelle’s body in it and recorded until the last light flickered in the distance. “If this doesn’t soothe the mind, I’m still trying to figure out what will.” With the individuals all clothed and fed and taken care of medically, the military and private vehicles and the aircraft departed from the square.

Short Story

About the Creator

Skyler Saunders

I am a man who claims his father as his only inspiration.

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